Posted by: kathandroger | May 21, 2017

Ode to May.

Each month of the year has its attractions, even if only to look forward to the following one. But May is different, my favourite month and the real fruition of the new year. The early migratory birds arrive in March, and we often have some warm days then, but the possibility of frosts are still present and indeed they cut down all our blossoming trees in early April. The real summer arrives with the Swifts in late April, and this year with the re-arrival of the Bee Eaters which deserted our little local lake last year. I saw a couple of dozen of them on the wires a fortnight ago; such exotic and unmistakable treasures of the avian world. The Cuckoos have been loud and numerous, the Hoopoe has hooped nearby, and the almost human whistling of the Golden Oriole has brightened our little wood above the house. The Hedgehog has been active and has provided some education for Polly. Dogs’ noses are soft and spines are sharp!IMG_3742I walked the little dog to our local reservoir a mile or so away a couple of days ago. It is usually an uninspiring expanse of water, but in the warm sunshine the carp had come to the surface and were active in groups of up to two dozen fish, with others foraging in the margins and seemingly unperturbed by our presence. Polly was an enthusiastic tadpole chaser but was confused by the hundreds of little wrigglers around her feet.

The flowers are at their best in May. Our local Orchids are in full bloom, and provide the main course botanical pleasure after the appetizer blooms of the cowslips, violets and wood anemones of last month. We have a neglected field just over our lane which borders the oak woods, and at the moment the Lady, Monkey and Butterfly orchids have been in splendid profusion after the recent rains. I came across a pretty little flower on our walk yesterday which was obviously a mint relative with a labiate flower. I guessed it must have a pretty name as well, but was disappointed to find it has been cursed as the “Bastard Balm” Poor little thing!IMG_3745 (2)

The Potager had been planted. The forty or so tomato plants look good, as do the squashes and courgettes. The strawberries have been shared by the slugs and snails but they have left a few for us, and the first rows of vegetable seedlings are showing. The frost bitten trees in our orchard will give us next to nothing this year, so it is some comfort to see the raspberry bushes in good order. Brock the Badger still visits and has become adept at upskuttling my bowl of urine which is meant to put him off, but luckily he has not dug the garden up yet. I will have to hunt out my electric fence.

We had temperatures which reached 30 degrees last week, and the sheep are getting a bit overheated. The Ram, Hercules, is massive now and insulated by an impressive fleece and puffing like a good’un; I must reopen the sheep trap and get them in for shearing soon. Cutting the grass twice a week is a must now, but it looks good after some rain, and we look forward to our next guests.

Marvellous May, but no rest for the Workers.


Responses

  1. Gosh, hasn’t Polly grown!? (I guess they all do that…)

    I think the name ‘bastard balm’ comes about because it doesn’t have any medicinal qualities, unlike many of the mint family eg lemon balm.

  2. Polly has grown!
    She’s looking more like an Airedale and less like a puppy now.
    The golden oriels around us have been a joy to hear. Makes hanging out the washing and potting the geraniums a pleasure not a chore.

    • Jean, I even managed to get one to answer my whistle the other day-I didn’t see it but we communicated!

  3. Wow! I am so envious of the array of birds you have, how wonderful.
    I have been watching the goldfinches devouring niger seed, the sparrows chasing each other, the pigeons waddling and the first bullfinch of the year today in our garden.
    Your blogs are an absolute delight to read and paint such a lovely picture of life in France. Thank you 😊

    • Thanks Sharon, but we don’t seem to have Bullfinches over here-one of my favourite birds.


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